Cillian Sheridan, after long plane travel, went 45 minutes and opened the scoring, while Myron Samuel played the second half showing some raw promise but nothing in the boxscore as the Seattle Sounders reserves beat the Vancouver Whitecaps reserves 2-0 on Tuesday. They entered a team that is showing depth in interesting ways. While the Senior team has not been as dominant as many would have wished, it is weathering the storm of injury fairly well and treading water as Reservists are stepping up their games. The remaining Reservists, though, are crushing at their level. Five wins and zero losses with +7 goal differential, more than two goals a game scored and less than one against for the best record in the MLS Reserve League.
Sigi Schmid does use these games to see who should make the step to first team play, as well as looking at whether Sheridan, Samuel and other trialists are worth of longer looks.
... you never stop looking for players. You're always looking at trialists and people that become available. Obviously the summer window is coming up [July 15th] and we're still looking to improve ourselves.
Those from this site saw Sheridan, despite his travel exhaustion, as a tall forward who can bang with his back to the goal, win some headers (usually at midfield), with some decent speed but hungry to score and ready to harrass the opposition when he had the ball. The quickest way to describe him would be as a hybrid of Nate Jaqua and O'Brian White. Readers definitely feel that he is capable of playing within MLS providing the following ratings in our soccer tools.
That is comparable to Blaise Nkufo and Nate Jaqua, but much of that is likely due to promise over performance. Adrian Hanauer, Chris Henderson and Sigi will have a week with another Reserve game to decide what they want to do with him. At halftime last night, Henderson made it clear that if the Sounders want him, they can get him as he is on their Discovery List. Seattle will have to weigh what they saw from Sheridan versus other players who come in on trial over the next month.
In the next 3-4 weeks, we'll have a lot of players coming in that we're looking at and he's one of them. We don't make a determination after one practice and half a game, but it's good to see he's connecting with players. Tonight's been good for combination play.
In the second half, Samuel showed that he is much more raw, with a few sloppy passes backwards that were intercepted and generated opportunities for the Vancouver Whitecaps. He was fast, had very strong runs while struggling in the air (he's small) and could use some work passing. Readers think that he's a project more than a certainty.
Compared to Sounders wingers -- though he played forward last night paired with Pat Noonan -- Miguel Montano and Sean Okoli he was a Montano or David Estrada type talent. Raw, promising and if retained a solid Reserve player who could become something more.
Those who want the Sounders to find new ways to discover talent, each of these players came through different paths, and neither was through Kurt Schmid who dedicates his time to scouting college players. Cillian Sheridan is here after the agent connected with Henderson, as well as the Whitecaps, about bringing him over for a look. Myron Samuel is here from St. Vincent after Assistant Coach Ezra Hendrickson found him through his connections in the Caribbean.
It is much too early to decide whether either player will be joining Seattle during the transfer window. Many more players will come through, some like Sheridan will need practice time with the first team. Others will be more like Samuel who had time on the pitch with other teenagers like Montano, Okoli, Aaron Kovar and Deandre Yedlin. In addition Sigi will use the Reserve League to continue to develop other talent on the team and try new things.
It definitely helps. It keeps guys sharp. If a guy's not in the first team it keeps you sharp, and then when you're like a Lamar Neagle and you get an opportunity and you get on the field with the first team, you're not rusty because you haven't had playing time or you haven't gotten out there. Especially our reserve games, because they take on a very game-like atmosphere with the fans, with people walking on and introductions and the whole thing. It's not like you're just walking out to the practice field and there's a guy walking his dog and they blow the whistle and you play. So all that helps, because as a player then you feel like you're in a game. And so it makes sure the guys aren't rusty. It gives guys opportunities to play. We can see people. We can experiment with people, so we can see a Roger Levesque play right back -- see if that's a possibility down the line. There's a lot of thing we can do out of it.
Other things they tried last night were a centerback pairing of two natural fullbacks (Zach Scott and Leo Gonzalez) and two more attacking players at full back in Roger Levesque and Michael Tetteh. The next Reserve game is Monday 13 June at 11 AM against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
One other nugget that all readers should note came up in my asking Henderson about adding more youth up top and a team that is primarily older in defense.
Youth is always good for a guy who has something to prove. Sometimes it's good to bring in a guy and give him a second chance, like O'Brian White. He needed a new environment, came in, he's young and had something to prove. That's always good. You look at our center backs, we have some pretty good center backs that other teams in the league are interested in, and they're performing well. Sometimes having players who can play out of the back with the style of play that the Sounders play is important too. I think we have a pretty solid back four, and I think Kasey does a good job organizing them. But you need to have that kind of balance. You need to have some young and experienced guys playing next to each other. At least in my experience of winning in this league, you need to have a balance.
I'll repeat the part that stuck out the most.
... we have some pretty good center backs that other teams in the league are interested in ...
Seattle has a lot of options it seems and not all of them will have to be from outside the league it seems. Joshua Mayers has the full quotes from both Sigi Schmid (also on Alsono, OBW, Zakuani) and Chris Henderson (lots of detail on Discovery Claim process).